Sarganserland alpine blessing

The Sarganserland alpine blessing is a prayer with which shepherds in the region between the Walensee and the Tamina valley appeal to God, Mary and the saints for protection against dangers during the alpine summer. By reciting the prayer, they commit all the living creatures on the alpine pastures as well as their honour and property to the care of a higher power. The alpine farmers learn the blessing as school children together with the Lord's Prayer, Ave Maria and the creed and usually recite it from the hilltops every day. The prayer takes the form of a recitative based on just a few notes, making it reminiscent of the Gregorian chant of the Roman Catholic church. The Sarganserland animal and shepherds' blessing first appeared in print in 1862, while the musical notation was published in 1867 and an audio recording in 2006.

Detailed description


Knowledge concerning nature



Albert Good, Mels, canton of St. Gallen: alpine blessing © Aus: Bättruef. Alpsegen. Swiss Alpine Prayer. Ed. Brigitte Bachmann-Geiser. Oberhofen am Thunersee: Zytglogge Verlag und Schweizer Radio DRS, 2006 (Track 10)


Brigitte Bachmann-Geister: Der Betruf in den Schweizer Alpen. Zürich, 2006

Brigitte Bachmann-Geiser (Ed.): Bättruef. Alpsegen. Swiss Alpine Prayer. Ed. Zytglogge Verlag. Oberhofen am Thunersee, 2006 (CD)

Werner Burkhard: Ein literaturgeschichtliches Lesebuch. Von den Anfängen bis ins Barockzeitalter (Schriftwerke deutscher Sprache 1). Aarau, 1964

Alois Senti: Sagen aus dem Sarganserland (2 Bände). Basel, 1974/1998

Alois Senti: Sagen aus dem Sarganserland. Nachlese. In: Schweizer Volkskunde 94. Basel, 2004, p. 61–89

Alois Senti: Der Sarganserländer Alpsegen. Mels, 1994

Justin Winkliner: Der Betruf des Sarganserlandes. Aspekte mündlicher Tradierung. In: Schweizer Volkskunde 71.5. Basel, 1981, p. 88–95

Bruno Moll: Alpsegen. Mit Franz Ambauen, Josef Brun, Mina Inauen. 2012 (Dokumentarfilm)

Tonisepp Wyss-Meier: Der Betruf im deutschsprachigen und rätoromanischen Raum. Appezell, 2007, p. 124–130